Save Your Photos

Soggy Books

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit obsessed with looking back at my past experiences. My calendar is a pinned tab on my browser and I use it just as much to look at what I’ve been up to as for scheduling the future. I love looking at old photos or files for the memories they bring up. When I read my writing from years earlier I can still put myself into the frame of mind I was in when I wrote them.

Even after purging a lot of the physical evidence, I still have totes worth of things I’ve produced over the years. Somewhere in my parents’ house are floppy disks with typing and drawing I did as a toddler. And I know I’ve got some of my most challenging exams and papers from college stashed away for when I want to be proud of my accomplishments.

Photos and videos probably make up the biggest percentage of the mementos I worry about preserving. Nothing makes reliving a memory easier than having a snapshot full of the important details, after all, a picture’s worth a thousand words. The switch to digital photography did nothing to curb the build of my collection, especially thanks to my mom who never deletes any bad pictures, even the blurriest and most embarrassing.

When I was getting to leave my parents’ house in the path of a hurricane I fought with myself about whether to take copies with me in case there was extensive water damage. Thankfully it was just paranoia, since I didn’t end up able to bring any with me, but the thought that I could loose all the pictures of my family made me very uncomfortable. And there are thousands of people for whom my worst nightmare (and then some) came true, when their home was destroyed by any number of natural disasters in recent history.

Soggy Books
Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash

I’ve had my fair share of lost memories on a smaller scale. Usually because of procrastination in dealing with the actual storage and backup system combined with an easily avoidable mistake. Case in point, one summer I was having some hard drive issues and made weekend plans to go through the files and copy over the things I didn’t have stored elsewhere. Well, one hot summer day working on the patio later and my solid state drive was toast.

I’m pretty sure the main thing I lost was some footage from the last camping trip I took, and maybe a couple of but I’ll never know for sure. I had some big projects in college that got corrupted, and I’ve also lost some important and sentimental emails after an overzealous deletion spree. And most recently, I lost the last draft of this post after making some significant edits…

All that said, I’ve been no stranger to data loss and decided I needed a real plan on how to save and store the files and photos I care about. One strategy has been Backblaze to backup my entire computer. It makes it easy to restore or back up individual files or an entire system. Though I haven’t had to do so in the several years I’ve subscribed to it. If you’re interested, the link will give you a free month when you sign up.

The other strategy I employ is to double cloud back-up my photos. I have an android phone, so all my pictures go into Google Photos automatically. But since we also pay for Amazon Prime, I back up my favorites through the Prime Photos app as well, along with my high quality photos from my fancy camera. I still have a risk of forgetting to download the pictures from disc and upload them, but I’ve been trying to work on building up a habit of doing it every week or so.

In contrast to these methods, I’ve also been trying to consciously focus on living in the moment instead of worrying too much about capturing something so fragile as a digital image. This somewhat backfired on me when I realized I have no footage from the first three months of my son’s life. Which is still something I regret. I can hardly remember those days as it is, what with the lack of sleep, but now I won’t be able to relive them or share them with him either.

There’s such a balance to be struck between simply living life and leaving a record. I certainly hope to have something to show and to share with my family in the years to come. But above all I want to strive to create those memorable moments for the sake of the experience, not the image.

Revisiting The Outside World

This post is an update to some thoughts I had almost four years ago, “Returning To The Outside World“. A lot of what I said in that post has changed in the intervening time, a lot of the sentiment has stayed the same. I decided to update it here, to reflect my current situation.

I still like to think, and I still need community. We all do. But what that community looks like has changed a lot over the years. After spending another “insular” winter inside in 2018 with a newborn, and what I now recognize as depression and anxiety, I all but lost most of the people who had been around to count on.

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Taking A Look Back [2019]

It’s that time of year again. And I can see there’s nothing I’ve posted since the last one. There has been a lot going on in my life. Including a shift in mood over the course of the year that finally has me back to feeling like a version of myself that I’m happy with. What follows is a summary of some of the highlights (and some lowlights) of the year 2019.

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Taking A Look Back [2018]

It’s New Years again and that means it’s time for my annual recap of what’s been going on the past twelve months. This was the first year of my son’s life, so as I mentioned in last year’s post, I spent much of the beginning of the year in a dazed state. I couldn’t even tell you how many weeks I spent getting sleep in two hour increments and staying awake from midnight until 4AM. It was a very full year. Good, but hard. I know I have grown as a result, but that growth is still in progress. I can barely believe the year is already over, there’s so much that feels unfinished about 2018, even after taking this look back. Maybe I’ll blame that on the lack of sleep too, it’s hard to say. At least I can say it has been a memorable year. Something happened every single month. Here is an (admittedly lengthy) account of this past year.

Continue reading “Taking A Look Back [2018]”

When Mentors Move On

I was recently reminded how far I have come. Last year in September I was juggling the on-boarding of a fourth addition to our team in as many months, reviewing code written by team mates on the other side of the globe, and still getting to work on any tasks myself. Two years ago I was struggling with my involvement the decision to terminate a new hire I had been training who was not a good fit for the role. Three years ago I was working on some of the first projects I took a lead in designing and implementing, which turned out to be some of the most frustrating projects at the company for the year.

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Where I Need To Be

I’ve been noticing lately that I’m finding myself exactly where I need to be in different parts of my life. Hindsight is 20-20 but I’m even beginning to recognize it in the moment as well.

Last year, when I desperately wanted to grow my family after finally moving out of an apartment, my sister helped me find the perfect little puppy for our lifestyle, in the perfect timing for us to spend glorious weeks off enjoying him. Continue reading “Where I Need To Be”